Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Road Trip

From Scrapt

The top layout is from a Designer Digitals challenge: Kellie Mize, AdChalFree-082408. The fonts I used were primarily Century Gothic and JW ChalkRubons. I did use LD Grunge for the numbers on the cover page. If you'd like to read the journaling, I'm pretty sure it's legible if you go look at the larger photos in my Scrapt album.

Designing Your First Page

This post at Designer Digitals walks you through creating a scrapbook page in Photoshop or Elements.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting Started

So many people have told me how much they would love to try digital scrapbooking, blah, blah, blah and I always send them over to this blog and wish for them that they really would take it up because it is AWESOME. And I'm sure I've already listed off the numerous advantages to digiscrapping over tradition scrapping. (My top reason is that it's very kid friendly in that there's no mess for them to get into AND you can print off copies of your pages for each of them, should they so desire).

But anyway, today I was on the phone with my aunt and she was being very kind and saying nice things to me and in the course of our conversation, she said that she would love to try digiscrapping but that at this point she wouldn't even know where to get started. So I thought, "Hey, I should blog about how to get started." But then I realized that getting started actually *is* kind of hard. I mean, if you're trying to do this with Photoshop, there *is* a learning curve. I believe that Photoshop Elements is a little more straight forward to use - not to mention MUCH less expensive - but I'm not sure of that because I haven't actually used Elements.

I learned Photoshop on the job. In fact, in my previous working life, I also used PageMaker, Quark, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and probably other similar software apps that I'm not remembering at the moment. So by the time I took up digiscrapping, I already kinda knew what I was doing.

Truthfully I *have* learned lots of new tricks in the last couple of years. Maybe because playing around with Photoshop for hobby purposes allows me to just tinker around, whereas before I felt more pressure to get things done quickly. I'm not sure. But anyway, point is, I guess I'm not really so much help in this department because it's been a long time since I first started using Photoshop. And even though I'm no guru (I'm not trying to be humble, it's true), I can't really remember the process of how I learned either. But, I will say this, there are TONS of tutorials available. The web is amazing in this regard - ask and ye shall receive. So while I'm sure getting started is intimidating, I think you should just jump in and go for it. Choose your software and if it happens to be Adobe Photoshop, I would happily answer your questions. Though, more than likely that would mean a google search on my end. *hehe*

I would love to have some friends who were into it too. When I went through my Creative Memories phase, I LOVED attending scraps and getting together with girlfriends to work on our pages. I keep hoping that maybe someday I'll have a similar digiscrapping network because it was definitely a lot of fun. I miss it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


From Scrapt

From Scrapt

Click on image for credits.

Grandma and Grandpa’s remains, along with their wedding rings, were interred at Sarasota National Cemetary on August 7, 2009.

Aunt Barb, Uncle Rich, Mom, Bill, Danny, Ted, Doug, Andrea, Michael, Rebecca, Kathi, Kardynn and myself attended the burial.

It was a very touching service. The flag was at half mast. A military chaplain spoke. Though Grandma could not be officially recognized, they acknowledged that “behind every good man, is a good woman”. They told us they were sorry for our loss and they thanked us for Grandpa’s service to our country. After the chaplain spoke, there was a three volley salute. A veteran played taps. The flag was folded and presented to Aunt Barb. All the veterans gave Grandpa one last salute.

Julius Daniel VanBelle
Nov 28, 1919 - July 12, 2009

Ethel VanBelle
July 24, 1922 - Aug 23, 2008

Monday, August 17, 2009

Digital Photography School

I stumbled onto a site with a lot of great information about photography. There are tons of tips and tutorials. And you don't have to pay a cent for any of it.

If you're just getting your feet wet in photography and want to learn the basics, start here.

Photo Freedom

I bought Stacy Julian's book a few days ago and have now finished reading it and am ready to share my opinion. First of all, I've resisted buying this book for a while because I thought my system for managing my photos already worked pretty good for me. But I've heard so many great things and when I found myself at a craft store flipping through the book, I thought, "What the heck" and I bought it. In my case, I'm only making a few changes to my system after reading this book. But, that said, I *am* reorganizing a few things and I think her suggestions are fantastic. The problem is just that I was already on the bandwagon. :) But the book did get me enthusiastic to get organizing my photos because of course my system's no good if I never do it...and lately I haven't been doing it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The other day I picked up a Better Homes and Garden Photography magazine. I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing. But as I flipped through the magazine, I was a little bit disappointed because there wasn't really anything new in there. Then I realized the up side to that is that I've learned a thing or two over the years.

From Rapt 2 Scrap

The most compelling element in a photograph - for me - is the composition. I remember taking a home ec class in 9th grade and learning that odd numbers are pleasing to the eye. I think that's the same basic principle behind the rule of thirds. I've actually stumbled onto an alternate but similar composition technique: the diagonal method.

From Vacation - Day 8

Another favorite composition technique of mine is framing. Perhaps even more than creating a pleasing visual result, it's just fun to do. And of course my absolute favorite rule of photography is getting close to the subject. This one came naturally and I found myself filling a shot with someone's face, before I ever knew that was a basic rule of photography. This is also why I'm totally addicted to my zoom lenses.

From Vacation - Day 8

A second element that I think can really set a photograph apart is the lighting. The right lighting can make the end result absolutely magical. My family room has windows facing south and west. On good days, when the light is just so, I can't stop snapping photos. Whether the catch lights in my children's eyes are bright, or the backlighting is perfect, there's nothing that makes me want to pull out my camera more than perfect light. I still have a lot to learn in this regard but I'm enjoying that process. I have a shoe mounted flash, a gray card and a stack of books about lighting and exposure (not to mention about ten more in my Amazon shopping cart).

From Rapt 2 Scrap

My other favorite thing to play with is exposure. Generally I shoot in Program mode but I enjoy flipping over to Shutter Priority mode too. Every once in a blue moon I'll look down on the aperture but usually I'm more interested in the shutter speed.


So there you go. Read up on those techniques with the links I provided or just google them yourself. And why not pull out your camera's manual the next time you have some down time because I'll bet there are still plenty of things that your camera can do that you don't fully understand. That is definitely true for me!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I know that my posts have been very sporadic lately but I'm going to try to be more regular in the future. Scrapbooking, and all of its various components, is something that I really have a passion for and updating this blog makes me happy. Plain and simple.

This weekend I attended a memorial service for my grandparents. The last few years, any sort of event like this, I create a little slideshow documenting the life of the person being remembered. This event was no exception. I assembled a chronological review of my grandparents life in photographs. So far, people have always had kind words to say about the slideshows. As much as I'd like to take all the credit for this and claim that it's simply my amazing talent, I realize that it's actually the photographs themselves that are particularly compelling.

After this particular memorial, I chanced into a conversation with someone. She had just snapped some photos for me of my extended family and it prompted a conversation about photography. I don't think she realized I had anything to do with the slideshow, the conversation just came up because she'd taken pictures for me. She commented that just the day before, as she was sorting through some photographs, she started to question what she was doing. She said, "I was looking at a photo and thinking, my children don't even know who these people are. But this service reminded me that my photographs are meaningful."

To know that I'd had that impact on someone made me feel great. Because I too believe in the importance of pictures. I'm diligently documenting the lives of my family, my life, and on some small scale, the lives of people who are important to me. I don't know how many people will ever want to look at my photographs, but I hope some will and honestly, if no one else cares to, at least I know that I will enjoy looking back through my pictures and remembering times past.

The past few weeks, while working on this slideshow, I've looked at many photographs of my grandparents. As I tried to put the photographs into chronological order, I would ask my mother and my aunt for help. But in many cases they no longer remembered the details - if they ever even knew them to begin with. This is not the first time I've had this experience. When trying to organize pictures from my own childhood, I encountered the same difficulty. On numerous occasions my parents disagreed about the details - when and where the pictures were taken. I was always happy when there was a notation on the back of the photograph to steer me in the right direction. It doesn't take long to forget because even with my photographs of my own children, who have been a part of my life for less than a decade, I look back at pictures from the beginning and I've already forgotten so much.

Taking photographs is only half of preserving your history. The other half is recording the story. To me, that's the magic of scrapbooking. It's an opportunity to showcase photographs AND highlight the special stories that go along with them. And blogging is the newest way to accomplish this same goal. I'm still drawn to scrapbooking because it's also an opportunity to be creative and make something visually pleasing. I enjoy it. But I most of all, I just think it's so cool to put your stories and photographs together.

Sitting next to me is a stack of letters that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother while he was in the war. I offered to scan them so that my entire family can have copies of them. So I KNOW for a fact that if my grandparents had kept some sort of scrapbook, it's something we'd all treasure.

From Rapt 2 Scrap